To start our lesson today, I tell the students how excited I am for today! I tell them that we’ve read about how children can make changes with presidents, like Grace did with Abraham Lincoln. We’ve seen some examples of how other students have written to other presidents, and we’ve even planned our own notes for a letter to Mr. Barack Obama. Today is the day where they get to start writing out our own letters to President Obama on paper! This is so exciting!
I want to show the students what I’d like them to do today as they write their rough draft letters, so I start by pulling up a Smart Notebook file (just entitled, “Paper”). This is simply just a file that looks like a large piece of paper. I show the students that today, as they work on their rough draft letters, I’d like them to be sure they leave room for editing, so on their papers today, I’m going to ask them to skip every other line. In order to do this, we’ll start by putting an “X” on every other line so we remember not to write there and to leave room for notes from editing!
Once I model skipping every other line, I start by showing the students how I’d begin to write my rough draft. I model using “friendly letter” conventions, remembering to indent each paragraph and skip every other line!
Once I’ve modeled for the students, I say, “Okay third graders! We’re ready! Let’s get drafting!” Then students begin on their important work of writing rough draft letters to our president!
As students are working, I circulate around the room and check that students are indenting, skipping lines, and working steadily on their rough drafts. I also offer guidance or answer questions students may have.
As student finish up their rough drafts, I pair students up to read through each others’ work and to help each other with revising. Today, specifically, I want students to help each other think about the sentences they’ve written and if there are any recommendations they can make for each other to make their sentences even better. Students are also welcomed to help each other with editing as well. We have an editing marks sheet that we keep handy in our classroom so students can pull that out and help each other go through their writing.
At the end of our lesson today, I collect any finished letters so that I can begin to give my edits as well! I tell the students that I’m so proud of their work and that they should be too! I say, “I know that President Obama is going to be thrilled to receive these letters! Who wouldn’t be? And who knows-you might just make a difference like Grace!” It’s neat to see that idea cross my third graders minds!